Today, I learned again, that:
Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host the 31st Summer Olympic Games later this year. But how was it that the city got its name and what does it mean?
Rio de Janeiro literally means the January River. The reason is that when the Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos discovered the Bay of Guanabara on January 1, 1502, the Portuguese word for both river and bay was ‘rio’, and hence the origin of the name. When the city was founded by Estácio de Sá on March 1, 1565, its name was designated as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as a tribute also to the ruling Portuguese king, D. Sebastião.
Every city in Brazil has a day once a year when they pay a tribute to their patron saint, and when there is a local holiday. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, in consequence with what was said above, it is Saint Sebastian, and since his day is January 20, today is a local holiday in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in many other Brazilian cities, that also venerate Saint Sebastian, e.g. São Sebastião (state of São Paulo), Paranavaí (state of Paraná), Paraisópolis (state of Minas Gerais), as well as some other 250 cities all over Brazil.
… That’s what I learned in school!